The season of Spaun is coming to a close. Yes, there was a time when we recommended Spaun multiswitches to our marine customers because of their durability and features, but that day has passed. If you are still using Spaun multiswitches on your vessel it’s time to think about the future.
Spaun’s list of US/DIRECTV-compatible products is getting smaller and smaller and most of these parts are no longer stocked in US warehouses, meaning that it will take three to four weeks to get any Spaun part that we don’t already have in stock. They cite low demand and are quickly moving to cut their losses in the US market.
Why? Most new products for marine satellite use DIRECTV SWM technology, which Spaun is not licensed to manufacture. Not only that, but the array of multiswitches that do work with DIRECTV is still pretty large and it’s getting easier and easier to adapt the multiswitches intended for land use. That means there’s just not this big market for people who will pay $500 for a multiswitch.
If you’re ready to move to SWM technology, there is an upgrade path that will let you use your existing satellite dome in most cases. It does mean rewiring in other places but that can be less expensive if it’s done at the same time as other upgrades such as adding flat TVs to replace older tube TVs. Our marine SWM white paper will give you all the information you need to start the upgrade process.
If you are looking to spend as little as possible to keep your TV distribution intact, I’d recommend a kit like our WB616 solution which gives you the ability to drive up to 16 TVs using a conventional multiswitch solution. To mimic the auto gain controlled output of most Spaun multiswitches, add a TAMP_6 amplifier. These are all industrial quality products used in commercial DIRECTV installations and are as durable and flexible as Spaun products… plus they’re a lot cheaper. The only downside is that the equipment takes up more space, but there’s very little that can be done about that. In a pinch, it’s a lot easier to find room for a few multiswitches instead of rewiring the whole vessel in a hurry.
Another excellent aspect of our WB616 solution is that the multiswitches can be swapped out for SWM technology when you are ready, making the rewiring process somewhat less painful.
Yes, it’s frustrating to think that the large investment in wiring your vessel for satellite in the mid-2000s is no longer going to work for you, but certainly in the last 10-15 years you have changed out other electronic components… it’s time to consider this upgrade as well.